What challenges face LGBTQ+ couples going through a divorce?

It has been nearly nine years since the United States legalized same-sex marriage. However, according to numerous sources, the average length of a marriage is anywhere between 7 and 10 years. This means that likely soon, there may be an increasing number of same-sex divorces, and the law in those issues is far from settled.

At Envision Family Law, we’ve helped people across California through their divorce issues. If you and your partner are heading for divorce, we are here to answer all the most important questions you may have.

How are divorces different for LGBTQ+ couples?

Largely, divorce between same-sex couples will not involve many procedural differences than those between opposite-sex couples. The filing times are the same; the waiting periods are the same; even the specific issues – child support, property division, custody –that you and your ex must settle are the same.

However, the details in these standard procedures vary significantly between opposite-sex couples. For same-sex couples, there are bound to be areas of law that are difficult to reconcile.

What happens with the kids?

Most same-sex couples’ central point of concern is what happens with the children they have raised together. Depending on the family’s exact circumstances – adoption vs. biological children from a previous relationship vs. surrogacy and so on – the court may not view the parents equally. This can be devastating, but that isn’t the end of the matter.

Will there be a spousal support agreement?

If one spouse has fewer resources and is dependent on the other, there may be a spousal support agreement. However, the length of the marriage is often one of the guiding matters in setting support levels. Unfortunately, the length of your marriage can be a subject of some complication, which we will discuss below.

Why would the length of the marriage make difficulties?

The length of your marriage is complicated by the Supreme Court decision in 2015 which was not the first time same-sex marriage attained legal status in the state. Before Obergefell vs. Hodges, there had been a five-month period in 2008 where same-sex marriage was legal. However, a ban was then passed by referendum. Unions during this period of upheaval may have a more complicated divorce resolution than others.

Get the answers to your questions

While same-sex divorce questions may have complicated legal answers, answers are still available. You do not need to go forward without knowing all the facts.